Arlington Sun Gazette
County Board Member, Candidate Tangle on Immigration
(Created: Saturday, September 16, 2006 2:35 PM EDT)
“Swing and a miss!” is how the Sun Gazette’s political column is characterizing Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada’s effort to discredit Green Party County Board candidate Joshua Ruebner as anti-immigrant.
But, the column said, “the episode showed us that Ruebner’s run-to-the-left-of-Chris-Zimmerman strategy is getting under the skin of some Democrats.”
Ruebner attended the Sept. 16 County Board meeting and used the public-comment period to complain that the government’s press release highlighting the start of Hispanic Heritage Month was full of happy talk, but no mention of the fact that Latino immigrants are being forced out of Arlington due to increasing housing costs.
In a rebuttal, however, Tejada went on the attack.
“It’s easy to throw cheap political shots – use the [immigrant] community as a punching bag,” Tejada said. He lumped Ruebner in with some right-wing commentators and Republican political leaders, whom Tejada said were “fanning the flames of division” in the country.
“We should be proud of immigrants,” Tejada said. “Let us not forget to be proud and celebrate.”
“Huh?” the political column asked. “Of course we in Arlington celebrate immigrants. Ruebner wasn’t attacking immigrants or using them as ‘punching bags’; far from it. He was complaining that the county government, acting in concert with the development community, is gentrifying Arlington and as such forcing them out.”
“One can argue whether that campaign theme of Ruebner’s is valid or not,” the column said, “but Tejada’s retort seemed misdirected (‘he looked stupid on that one,’ one civic activist said of the board member).”
On this showdown, the Sun Gazette scores it: Ruebner 1, Tejada 0.